Solomon Jewett: Early Jewish Pioneer and Civic Citizen of Bakersfield, California

Solomon Jewett

Values Codes: I-E-L-P


Solomon Jewett

Solomon Jewett

Solomon Jewett was born 1835 on his family’s sheep ranch in Vermont.

Along the way

In 1861, Solomon Jewett and his brother, Philo D. Jewett, traveled to Colorado to mine gold.


Kern County

Shortly afterwards, Solomon Jewett walked to California where he was hired to manage the sheep flocks of Colonel James Vineyard at the Tejon Ranch, north of Los Angeles.


A few years later, he established the Rio Bravo Ranch, bordering the Kern River near Bakersfield – backed by Thomas Bull, a San Francisco banker.


During the Civil War, Solomon Jewett supplied wool for the Union Army.


Solomon Jewett also opened a store in Bakersfield at 19th Street and Chester.


During the 1870s, Jewett discovered oil on his land and an started asphalt and paving company.

His company was the first one to pave a Bakersfield street.


In 1874, Solomon Jewett opened the Kern County Bank, the first bank in Kern County.

Solomon Jewett's Kern County Bank, 1970's

Solomon Jewett’s Kern County Bank, 1970’s

In 1899, Jewett focused on raising and selling sheep, cattle, and alphalfa.



In 1866, Solomon Jewett served on Kern County’s first Grand Jury.

In 1872, he was elected County Supervisor of District No. 2.



In 1872, Solomon Jewett helped organize the Kern Lodge #202, Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Bakersfield.

In 1879, Jewett was Overseer of the Ancient Order of United Workman.

He was also a member of both the Elks and Masons.



Solomon Jewett married Emma Caroline.

Together they had two children: Philo and Lida

Solomon Jewett died in 1905.

He is buried in the Union Cemetery, in Bakersfield.

Solomon Jewett's Gravestone

Solomon Jewett’s Gravestone


For more information on Solomon Jewett, see the following:

  • We Brought Sinai to San Joaquin, The Story of the Jews of Kern County, by Shirley Ann Newman, Temple Beth El, Bakersfield, CA 1998.
  • Pioneer Merchants of Tulare County, California, by Annie R. Mitchell, WSJH, Vol. 2, Issue #3, 1970.
  • “Jewish Businessmen of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern Counties,” from Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern, California, 1891, WSJH, V34, #4, 2002

Regina Merwin is Curator of this Solomon Jewett Exhibit.